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Terrell D.,Southwest Research Institute | Gross J.,Sonoita Research Observatory | Cooney W.R.,281 Burapha Golf Club
Astronomical Journal | Year: 2012

We report on a BVRCIC survey of field W Ursae Majoris binary stars and present accurate colors for 606 systems that have been observed on at least three photometric nights from a robotic observatory in southern Arizona. Comparison with earlier photometry for a subset of the systems shows good agreement. We investigate two independent methods of determining the interstellar reddening, although both have limitations that can render them less effective than desired. A subset of 101 systems shows good agreement between the two reddening methods. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Durech J.,Charles University | Vokrouhlicky D.,Charles University | Baransky A.R.,Astronomical Observatory of Taras Shevshenko National University | Breiter S.,Adam Mickiewicz University | And 30 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Context. The spin state of small asteroids can change on a long timescale by the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect, the net torque that arises from anisotropically scattered sunlight and proper thermal radiation from an irregularly-shaped asteroid. The secular change in the rotation period caused by the YORP effect can be detected by analysis of asteroid photometric lightcurves. Aims. We analyzed photometric lightcurves of near-Earth asteroids (1865) Cerberus, (2100) Ra-Shalom, and (3103) Eger with the aim to detect possible deviations from the constant rotation caused by the YORP effect. Methods. We carried out new photometric observations of the three asteroids, combined the new lightcurves with archived data, and used the lightcurve inversion method to model the asteroid shape, pole direction, and rotation rate. The YORP effect was modeled as a linear change in the rotation rate in time dω/dt. Values of dω/dt derived from observations were compared with the values predicted by theory. Results. We derived physical models for all three asteroids. We had to model Eger as a nonconvex body because the convex model failed to fit the lightcurves observed at high phase angles. We probably detected the acceleration of the rotation rate of Eger dω/dt = (1.4 ± 0.6) × 10 -8 rad d -2 (3σ error), which corresponds to a decrease in the rotation period by 4.2 ms yr -1. The photometry of Cerberus and Ra-Shalom was consistent with a constant-period model, and no secular change in the spin rate was detected. We could only constrain maximum values of |dω/dt| < 8 × 10 -9 rad d -2 for Cerberus, and |dω/dt| < 3 × 10 -8 rad d -2 for Ra-Shalom. © 2012 ESO.

Harris A.W.,MoreData Inc. | Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Galad A.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Galad A.,Comenius University | And 13 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2014

Most asteroid lightcurves are dominated by the second harmonic of the rotation period, caused by elongated shape. However, if the shape is not very elongate, other harmonics may dominate, leading to ambiguity of which is the true rotation period. We argue from geometry that at low phase angle, harmonics other than the second with amplitude exceeding ~0.4 magnitude are nearly impossible, so lightcurves with larger amplitude than that suggest a unique period dominated by the second harmonic, unless the spin is complex, non-principal axis rotation. On the other hand, lightcurves with amplitude less than 0.2-0.3 magnitudes can be dominated by other harmonics, especially the 4th and 6th, so the period may be ambiguous unless odd harmonics can be found to identify the true rotation period. We present examples of each, low and high amplitude ambiguities. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Scheirich P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Vokrouhlicky D.,Charles University | Harris A.W.,4603 Orange Knoll Avenue | And 42 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2012

Our photometric observations of 18 main-belt binary systems in more than one apparition revealed a strikingly high number of 15 having positively re-observed mutual events in the return apparitions. Our simulations of the survey showed that it cannot be due to an observational selection effect and that the data strongly suggest that poles of mutual orbits between components of binary asteroids in the primary size range 3-8. km are not distributed randomly: The null hypothesis of an isotropic distribution of the orbit poles is rejected at a confidence level greater than 99.99%. Binary orbit poles concentrate at high ecliptic latitudes, within 30° of the poles of the ecliptic. We propose that the binary orbit poles oriented preferentially up/down-right are due to either of the two processes: (i) the YORP tilt of spin axes of their parent bodies toward the asymptotic states near obliquities 0° and 180° (pre-formation mechanism) or (ii) the YORP tilt of spin axes of the primary components of already formed binary systems toward the asymptotic states near obliquities 0° and 180° (post-formation mechanism). The alternative process of elimination of binaries with poles closer to the ecliptic by dynamical instability, such as the Kozai effect due to gravitational perturbations from the Sun, does not explain the observed orbit pole concentration. This is because for close binary asteroid systems, the gravitational effects of primary's irregular shape dominate the solar-tide effect. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Scheirich P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Kusnirak P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Hornoch K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 46 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2016

We collected data on rotations and elongations of 46 secondaries of binary and triple systems among near-Earth, Mars-crossing and small main belt asteroids. 24 were found or are strongly suspected to be synchronous (in 1:1 spin-orbit resonance), and the other 22, generally on more distant and/or eccentric orbits, were found or are suggested to have asynchronous rotations. For 18 of the synchronous secondaries, we constrained their librational angles, finding that their long axes pointed to within 20° of the primary on most epochs. The observed anti-correlation of secondary synchroneity with orbital eccentricity and the limited librational angles agree with the theories by Ćuk and Nesvorný (Ćuk, M., Nesvorný, D. [2010]. Icarus 207, 732-743) and Naidu and Margot (Naidu, S.P., Margot, J.-L. [2015]. Astron. J. 149, 80). A reason for the asynchronous secondaries being on wider orbits than synchronous ones may be longer tidal circularization time scales at larger semi-major axes. The asynchronous secondaries show relatively fast spins; their rotation periods are typically <10 h. An intriguing observation is a paucity of chaotic secondary rotations; with an exception of (35107) 1991 VH, the secondary rotations are single-periodic with no signs of chaotic rotation and their periods are constant on timescales from weeks to years. The secondary equatorial elongations show an upper limit of a2/b2~1.5. The lack of synchronous secondaries with greater elongations appears consistent, considering uncertainties of the axis ratio estimates, with the theory by Ćuk and Nesvorný that predicts large regions of chaotic rotation in the phase space for a2/b2≳2. Alternatively, secondaries may not form or stay very elongated in gravitational (tidal) field of the primary. It could be due to the secondary fission mechanism suggested by Jacobson and Scheeres (Jacobson, S.A., Scheeres, D.J. [2011]. Icarus 214, 161-178), as its efficiency is correlated with the secondary elongation. Sharma (Sharma, I. [2014]. Icarus 229, 278-294) found that rubble-pile satellites with a2/b2≲1.5 are more stable to finite structural perturbations than more elongated ones. It appears that more elongated secondaries, if they originally formed in spin fission of parent asteroid, are less likely to survive intact and they more frequently fail or fission. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

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